December 12, 2017

Sensory Processing Disorder

Out Of Sync ChildHave you ever tried to feed your child a food that may be not so tasty (like broccoli) but get a response way off the chart when they took a bite? Or have had a full on meltdown that their socks are bothering them? I was experiencing this with my daughter on a daily basis and knew it was not just rebellion.

As I was describing this problem to my friend, she said she was reading a book recommended by her son’s counselor called The Out of Sync Child. She said this book seemed to describe my daughter’s symptoms to a T – the diagnosis Sensory Integration Disorder (now called Sensory Processing Disorder). She gave me the book and it was spot on.

So what now?

Next step, off to the doctor who sent me to an Occupational Therapist who conducted a battery of interesting tests to determine that she did have SPD.  The tests were interesting to watch and the one that made sense to this layperson was that she could not have her hand cross her body’s midline. She was 8 at the time and had developed coping skills to mask this problem.  But her aversion to anything tight on her body and the deep weeping when trying to eat fruits or vegetables (the texture was too much) could not be hidden.

The treatment was an amazing regiment of occupational therapy. While the cause of this is still undetermined, the treatment is not. In fact, the most commonly used treatment is a therapy called Brain Gym developed by a doctor who himself had SPD and knew something was wrong with his sensory processing. He then figured out through trial and error how to treat it. Some of the exercises include swinging (not spinning), drinking a glass of water while sitting crosslegged and then pressing your fingertips together (told you it was interesting!). The last exercise also helped her focus while doing homework and we use some varieties of this exercise for our other kiddos when they need help getting started in homework.

After about 6 months, we saw a marked improvement. Soon she was wearing socks, then underwear and was able to slightly tolerate textures in her mouth (though her therapist said this tends to come around in their adult years).  She was able to swallow pills and her schoolwork also improved as she was not so distracted by sounds/noises.

There is a great website http://www.sinetwork.org that is devoted to this disorder. The earlier you catch this, the more successful the treatment is.

About the author: By

Julie is an awesome parent (along with her husband Matt) to five adopted kiddos and the owner of the Parenting Allies website.

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Disclaimer: We are not psychologists, counselors, or therapists. We are parents of children with special challenges, and the techniques, tools, and programs we recommend on this website have worked for us on our parenting journey.

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